Taipei City – 盛園絲瓜小籠湯包 ShengYuan Loofah steamed soup dumplings

I had been meaning to check this place out for a while now. Originally a started as a breakfast store, born out of that is this soup dumpling restaurant specialising in steamed loofah and pork soup dumplings.

The menu is fairly extensive, but you can see what our picks were.
I rarely stand in front of such a fridge and return empty handed…

Pick whatever you want out of the fridge and they will add it on to your total at the end of the meal.

…this time wasn’t any different – I couldn’t help but pick a couple of the side dishes 小菜

I picked up a plate of stewed bitter gourd (bottom right of the shot) which had some chilli in there with some of the mini fish (see below), and also a plate of the pickled bamboo (middle of the shot).

Would you, could you?
油豆腐湯 yóu dòu fu tāng $50

I probably wouldn’t jump to order this again, but it was a rather cool evening so a bit of soup did go down a treat. The flavours weren’t very inspiring though…

大餅捲牛肉 dà bǐng juǎn niú ròu $150

Often a fan of the above – thinly sliced beef with cucumber and scallions wrapped in a scallion pancake – this was somewhat disappointing, also. I thought the pancake was a bit oily and wasn’t as flaky as I expected. The beef was also not particularly generously portioned…

三鮮鍋貼 sān xiān guō tiē $160

If you are favouring health, then don’t get these pot stickers ^. I made the unfortunate mistake of moving the plate a couple of times to position it for a pic, and each time I did so I had to dry my hands of grease. You can see the grease on the pot stickers, and I am afraid that they taste as greasy as they look, too. The skin is also a little too thick in places on these, but the filling is quite tasty, nonetheless…

絲瓜小籠湯包 $160

These were mega, there’s no doubt about it. The bar is set really damn high for steamed soup dumplings in Taipei, with DinTaiFeng leading the way head and shoulders above the rest. The skin on these was slightly thicker than DinTaiFeng, but what makes these really special is the unique filling inside – Loofah 絲瓜. Now, this vegetable is a weird one, I’ll be honest. It is part of the cucumber family, and I often dislike the gloopy soups I usually see made from loofah.

All that aside, though, the loofah really works inside here with the pork filling. It remains crunchy, fresh, and full of flavour. There’s not a huge amount of soup on the inside of the dumpling, but that doesn’t really detract from the flavour, for me.

豆沙鍋餅 dòu shā guō bing $140

I haven’t eaten this in so long, that I needed to order it. In actual fact, this is probably the only other thing on the menu that I would order again (as well as the soup dumplings). A thin pancake is sandwiched with sweetened red bean paste and crusted with sesame seeds, then baked – win.

芝麻糊 $70

When done right, this sesame paste/pudding is really something to behold. If done right, it is silky smooth, slightly thick in consistency, and packing an incredible sesame aroma. This didn’t step up to the plate, here, and I won’t be ordering it again.

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